Living positively in a difficult season of doom and gloom
In the current pandemic, fear and uncertainty abound. We are gripped by a sense of helplessness—and even hopelessness. Now, one and the half years on, the contagion continues to rage all over the world, one wave after another. With viral mutation and emergence of new variants, it seems as if there is no end in sight.
The pandemic is part of the end-time cluster of earth-shaking calamities and trends which include pestilences, famines, earthquakes, wars, persecution, false prophets, deception, moral decadence, apostasy and man’s love of self, pleasure and money ... all of which are recorded in the Bible. And all this SHAKING is meant to wake us up spiritually. https://bit.ly/37evv2A
As believers, we pray that God will keep us safe. We commit to Him all the days of our lives—that we will continue to serve, honour and glorify Him.
While we hold on to His promise in Psalm 91—that He will protect us from the virus—we are not so foolhardy as to neglect safety measures (wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated enclosed places). https://bit.ly/3isX6Ds
Firstly, we have to set our minds on things above—live purposefully and intentionally—making the best use of our limited time. We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit so that we know His will for our lives–what He wants us to do. Those who are led by the Spirit are children of God (Romans 8: 14).
Two things can derail our plans to live for God:
On one hand, we can indulge in wasteful living and the pleasures of the world. Since life can be so transient and uncertain, we might reason to ourselves: “Let’s eat, drink and be merry while we can.” Actually there is nothing wrong with enjoying God’s blessings provided we are grateful to God and do not get carried away in the process. All things are lawful; but not all things are expedient. All things are lawful; but not all things edify (1 Corinthians 10:23).
On the other hand, we can be consumed by worries and concerns that we become distracted from God’s calling for our lives. Everyone faces problems in life. That's not the issue. More importantly, how do we respond and who carries the burden? The trouble with us is, in our finite minds, God is too small. We can't let go and let God take over, can't cast our cares and concerns on Him.
Like wise stewards (Matt 25:14-30), we have to utilise our God-given talents and resources before it is too late. Some faithful believers have died, their lives cut short by the virus. However, they have gone home to a well-deserved place of rest and reward. Their lives reflect Paul’s motto in life: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
Our lives need to be characterised by sobriety and self-control, not drunkenness, carousing and careless living. And that can only happen when we allow the Holy Spirit to take control of us.
When we realise we are spiritually weak, we are blessed in God’s eyes (Matthew 5:3). As such, we need to pray so that the things of the world and our fleshly desires will not prevail over our good intentions. The spirit may be willing but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41).
As we seek to live meaningful lives in this pandemic, may we reflect on the positive and negative themes found in the following passages. And may the Lord grant us wisdom and understanding (1 Corinthians 2:15-16).
So be very careful how you live. Do not live like people who aren’t wise. Live like people who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity. The days are evil. So don’t be foolish. Instead, understand what the Lord wants. Don’t fill yourself up with wine. Getting drunk will lead to wild living. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:15-18).
The end of all things is near. So be watchful and control yourselves. Then you may pray. Most of all, love one another deeply. Love erases many sins by forgiving them. Welcome others into your homes without complaining. God’s gifts of grace come in many forms. Each of you has received a gift in order to serve others. You should use it faithfully (1 Peter 4:7-10).
Be careful. If you aren’t, your hearts will be loaded down with wasteful living, drunkenness and the worries of life. Then the day the Son of Man returns will close on you like a trap. You will not be expecting it (Luke 21:34)
The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear the message. But as they go on their way, they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures (Luke 8:14).
HOW DO WE MAKE SENSE OF THE PANDEMIC?
What is its significance from a biblical viewpoint?
CLINGING ON TO PSALM 91, NEGLECTING SAFETY MEASURES
If we believers hold on to the promise in Psalm 91—that God will absolutely protect us from the virus—and neglect safety measures (wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated enclosed places), we are only being foolhardy.